Is Liam Neeson the new Charles Bronson? He’s out for revenge again in the dark new film A Walk Among The Tombstones.
Matt Scudder (Neeson) is an ex NYC cop and recovering alcoholic. When wealthy drug dealers have family members kidnapped for ransom, they call him. (Because, you see, they are engaged in illegal activity they can’t call the police.)
Scudder may seem to have no moral compass—he makes a surprising comment regarding police corruption—but, of course, he does. He relentlessly pursues the two kidnappers until their encounter in a cemetery during the film’s homestretch. (There’s key earlier scene in that same cemetery.)
Scudder is also shown participating in AA meetings. We learn via flashbacks why he is no longer on the force (despite apparent heroics at the film’s beginning).
Along the way, Scudder encounters a black teen named T.J. (Brian “Astro” Bradley. He was the constant videographer in this summer’s failed kid movie Earth To Echo.) Scudder’s relationship with T.J. gives the severe ex-cop an opportunity to show his human side.
After the cemetery rendezvous, Scudder and the victimized drug dealers (and T.J.) follow the kidnappers to their home where the final faceoff occurs. The climax of A Walk Among The Tombstones provides partial satisfaction to this gritty tale.
Lawrence Block has written 17 Matt Scudder novels. It’s safe, I think, to assume that this could become a franchise for Neeson, depending on responses from moviegoers to AWATT. Block co-wrote the script with director Scott Frank.
Neeson has become typecast as a burdened soul who rights wrongs. With the Taken films, this past winter’s Non-Stop and now A Walk Among The Tombstones, he has shown that he wears the role well. Why shouldn’t he continue starring in the kinds of roles his fans want to see?